• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

To Convert or not Convert

jrgtr42

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
2,076
I would say to leave it as it is, take the money for the PAFs (they can run upwards of $10K for a set) and either go for a previous conversion or a REALLY nice Historic and use the extra for upgrading pickups, electronics etc.
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
Find a good used historic R9 and buy a set of quality aftermarket pickups and you're 95%+ there. And you still have the (unmolested) P-90 goldtop.
Find a good used historic R9 and buy a set of quality aftermarket pickups and you're 95%+ there. And you still have the (unmolested) P-90 goldtop.
I do have a great R9 stock. Ive had several good aftermarket pickups in my previous reissues, WIZZ, WCR, Electric City. Billy's pickups sounded the best but I dont think he makes Hollowed Grounds anymore. Your opinions? Thanks in advance
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
I would be of the opinion that if you have money then find a used R8/R9/R0 for a good price that already feels great and then get it over to Historic Makeovers and let them do the rest, or find a used HM (might work out just as well financially).
A replica like a Bartett or Yaron etc. would be an option but I'd imagine at that point the price becomes more and more prohibitive until eventually you're just in the territory of buying another 52/53 and converting that.

Once you change your goldtop you won't be able to undo it, and like you said, you love the idea of a burst but you don't want to change the finish on your gold top anyway.

Didn't you have an HM already or is that down the road now?
Yeah I did have an HM. That left to fund the Goldtop. Great guitar but the Goldtop is way better
 

Ed A

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,613
Yeah I did have an HM. That left to fund the Goldtop. Great guitar but the Goldtop is way better
Here you have it in a nutshell... I have had at least 50 to 60 Historics come and go and five old wood replicas LPs.... many fantastic guitars but none that are quite as good as my 53/57 goldtop... I sold my goldtop four years ago and have been chasing that tone ever since and am very fortunate to have gotten it back.... and I am NOT shitting on those other guitars I had and still have... many of those guitars will beat out vintage guitars I owned and played.... but the simple truth is that the BEST sounding reissue or replica will still get beat out by the BEST sounding '50s LP.... I dont need to be convinced by it, Ive experienced it.... So if you found a great '50s LP and you love the P90s and can deal with the trapeze then by all means DONT convert it... BUT if like me you want a '50s LP with vintage PAFs, ABR1, tailpiece, Centralabs and bees but can not afford a 100K '57, then why the hell not?!..... these things after all are just tools to get you where you want to be... yeah some of them are very collectible and very expensive and some can be considered works of art.... but a trapeze goldtop with a headstock repair is still just a 10K guitar.... and this is NOT about trying to make believe you have a 300K burst or a 100K '57 goldtop.... this is about getting the tone, response and feel of either of those guitars in a way more affordable manner.... its 50s wood and vintage parts made in the same Kalamazoo factory by the same people.... no matter how good, the simple fact is you cant get that with a reissue or a replica, you cant go back in time... Joe Bonamassa played my conversion for his encores at one of his shows for nearly a half hour and LOVED it.... If I had handed it to him with P90s and a trapeze, he wouldve handed it back to me and said pretty guitar, but he wouldnt have played it... point being, again these things are tools, a means to an end.... the early trapeze goldtops are way less valuable for a reason.... but you shouldnt convert yours if youre not comfortable doing it and you love it as is, '50s P90s are great...... but IMHO, when you own a plank, do what thou wilt is the whole of the law....
 
Last edited:

mdubya

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
853
So the original Goldtop is better than the best Historic Makeovers or a Replica can offer. And you want to hack it up? OK. 🤔
 

Ed A

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,613
So the original Goldtop is better than the best Historic Makeovers or a Replica can offer. And you want to hack it up? OK. 🤔
Yup!.... hacking it up doesnt make it a worse guitar... and not that I give a crap about value, but a proper conversion on a trapeze 52 or 53 actually increases value.... what 'hacking it up' DOES do is give you an original goldtop that plays and sounds like a '57 for 1/10th the price... but Im just repeating myself at this point..... to each his own.... here's Joe B playing my 'hacked up' guitar, might be a good nickname for it!

 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
Here you have it in a nutshell... I have had at least 50 to 60 Historics come and go and five old wood replicas LPs.... many fantastic guitars but none that are quite as good as my 53/57 goldtop... I sold my goldtop four years ago and have been chasing that tone ever since and am very fortunate to have gotten it back.... and I am NOT shitting on those other guitars I had and still have... many of those guitars will beat out vintage guitars I owned and played.... but the simple truth is that the BEST sounding reissue or replica will still get beat out by the BEST sounding '50s LP.... I dont need to be convinced by it, Ive experienced it.... So if you found a great '50s LP and you love the P90s and can deal with the trapeze then by all means DONT convert it... BUT if like me you want a '50s LP with vintage PAFs, ABR1, tailpiece, Centralabs and bees but can not afford a 100K '57, then why the hell not?!..... these things after all are just tools to get you where you want to be... yeah some of them are very collectible and very expensive and some can be considered works of art.... but a trapeze goldtop with a headstock repair is still just a 10K guitar.... and this is NOT about trying to make believe you have a 300K burst or a 100K '57 goldtop.... this is about getting the tone, response and feel of either of those guitars in a way more affordable manner.... its 50s wood and vintage parts made in the same Kalamazoo factory by the same people.... no matter how good, the simple fact is you cant get that with a reissue or a replica, you cant go back in time... Joe Bonamassa played my conversion for his encores at one of his shows for nearly a half hour and LOVED it.... If I had handed it to him with P90s and a trapeze, he wouldve handed it back to me and said pretty guitar, but he wouldnt have played it... point being, again these things are tools, a means to an end.... the early trapeze goldtops are way less valuable for a reason.... but you shouldnt convert yours if youre not comfortable doing it and you love it as is, '50s P90s are great...... but IMHO, when you own a plank, do what thou wilt is the whole of the law....
Thanks for this response. Very helpful. I am weighing my options and budget
 

DutchRay

Active member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
340
Sorry, no clue, I login from my pc and usually dump my pics on my wp site and link them from there...

goldtop55.jpeg
 

T.Allen

Moderator
Joined
Sep 11, 2014
Messages
2,625
If it were my guitar, I would leave it as it is. I personally believe it is best to preserve a nearly 70 year old guitar for it's historical value. Those early Goldtops are badass in their own right. But, if you converted it, I certainly wouldn't take you off my Christmas card list. It is your guitar, after all.
 

Ed A

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,613
Sorry, no clue, I login from my pc and usually dump my pics on my wp site and link them from there...

goldtop55.jpeg
I see the low logo, so a conversion I presume... sweet!

Here is mine.....
 

Attachments

  • '53-'57 Conversion.jpg
    '53-'57 Conversion.jpg
    749.1 KB · Views: 11
  • Ed Goldtop closer.jpg
    Ed Goldtop closer.jpg
    515.3 KB · Views: 11
  • IMG_0520.jpg
    IMG_0520.jpg
    306 KB · Views: 12

Jeggz

Active member
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
108
I’ll make it an easy decision:

If you play P90s and really love that P90 thing, get a Mojoaxe and call it done.

If you play P90s and like them, but really REALLY wish they were PAF’s, call Jim.

If you fall in the latter, keep in mind, it’s not just a conversion with PAFs, there’s all the other stuff, ABR, tailpiece, studs, thumbwheels, it’s the sum of all the parts and it’s hard to find and costly.
 

bern1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 23, 2004
Messages
1,157
It USED to be a great idea to convert a 50’s Goldtop. Today, not so much. Things have changed and there are a lot more options. There are just so many options for the PAF sound, as you know. You have one. I would leave your vintage Goldtop as is. There are plenty of ways to make it play better without surgery, plenty of options there too. I’m sure your R9 rocks! If you really want a conversion, they pop up regularly for sale.

It ain’t the guitar, it’s the playing it that counts.
 

54/59

New member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
23
I am in the route it camp. Humbucking LP’s are the most desirable guitars for a reason.

There are plenty of juniors out there if you need P90’s.
 

eis

New member
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Messages
11
If you can not find original abr-1 and PAFs I bet you still can not get the tone while you ruin a piece of wonderful history and maybe otherwise a splendid guitar. I've watched videos from youtube of the conversions without original bridge and PUs and I think they sound totally xxxx without them. Even you can get them I still think you better convert a historic reissue than do a vintage guitar...
 

RyanC

Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
231
"He sold me mine for an incredible price as we’ve been friends for 20+ years and knows I will appreciate it."

"My Question: Should I save the money to buy PAF’s and convert it to 57 spec?"

It seems that you and I have different definitions of what appreciate means.
 

ourmaninthenorth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
6,531
Personally, and I stress that, any guitar that sounds amazing as is comes with a get out of jail free card, I don't have to arse about with any which way. Just play the bugger.

It's a winning hand.
 
Top